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PSST… The Best Snowshoe Trails Near Denver For All Skill Levels7 min read

Denver Snowshoeing

When the snowpack is just too deep for hiking, Denver adventurers often turn to snowshoes to explore the great outdoors. Winter is a great time to visit a few favorite warm-weather trails but the colder seasons also give us the opportunity to reach new terrain and take in inspiring vantage points with glistening white landscapes.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert snowshoer, we rounded up some of our favorite trails for all skill levels near Denver. So bundle up and check out some of these great places to explore in the Front Range!

 

Jump ahead to your skill level:

Beginner Trails | Intermediate Trails | Expert Trails

 

Beginner

Sprague Lake

Distance From Denver: 76 Miles

.5 Mile

Snowshoeing Denver

Photo courtesy of Gloria Wadzinski via My Colorado Parks

Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, this half-mile loop is the perfect trail for those new to snowshoeing. And while the small distance might seem a little too easy, this area sits at 8,688 feet above sea level, making it a bit more challenging. During your trek, you’ll travel around the stunning frozen Sprague Lake and have a good chance of spotting wildlife like elk and moose (just remember to stay at a safe distance!).

 

Bear Lake Trail

Distance From Denver: 80 Miles

.8 Mile or 1.2 Miles

Past Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find the slightly longer Bear Lake Trail. When you arrive, you can choose to tackle the 0.8-mile loop or the gentle ascent of just over a mile to Nymph Lake, which is covered in ice and surrounded by dazzling icicles this time of year. If you want to add a little bit more distance to your trip, consider heading even further into the park to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake—both of which are incredible sights.

 

Echo Lake

Distance From Denver: 33 Miles

1.3 Miles

Just a short drive from Denver, this easy trail is located near the adorable town of Idaho Springs. The hike itself is smooth and flat, making it a great spot for beginners and the views of the lake and Mount Evans are unbeatable. Afterward, journey into town for a dip in the Indian Hot Springs to warm yourself up.

 

Lory State Park

Distance From Denver: 76 Miles

2.7 Miles

Denver Snowshoeing

For novice and intermediate snowshoers, the mostly flat East and West Valley Trails of Lory State Park are a perfect option. Here, you’ll see red sandstone hogbacks, Horsetooth Reservoir coves, and bridges—which are just some of the highlights. The Friends of Lory State Park often offers hot drinks and snacks at the information center, so make sure to check out their calendar before you go!

 

Silver Dollar Lake

Distance From Denver: 90 Miles

4.6 Miles

This beautiful 4.6-mile adventure starts at the winter closure of Guanella Pass, below the main parking lot for Mount Bierstadt. While this beautiful area is often busy during the warmer months, in the winter you’re likely to have this trail all to yourself. The trail passes south of Naylor Lake and continues on to Silver Dollar Lake. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose and elk in the area.

 

Intermediate

Lost Lake Trail

Distance From Denver: 50 Miles

3 Miles

Denver Snowshoeing

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Murphy via Colorado Lifestyle

Located on the southern end of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, the Lost Lake Trail offers excellent views and plenty of exploration opportunities. On the north side of the lake, you’ll find a couple of old mines and cabins that are worth taking a look at and throughout the rest of the walk, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the northwest side of Eldora Mountain Resort.

 

Old Monarch Pass

Distance From Denver: 160 Miles

3 Miles

For those just venturing into harder hikes, the Old Monarch Pass is a fantastic option. This pass features several different types of terrains to test out your skills, without being too difficult. Plus, it packs in some incredible views in a short amount of time. If you want a longer adventure, simply continue down the road to the bottom.

 

Brainard Lake Trail

Distance From Denver: 52 Miles

4.8 Miles

One of our favorite snowshoeing destinations close to Boulder and Denver, Brainard Lake Recreation Area is full of different loops and trails to explore. If you are looking for a relatively rolling hiking experience, then you should tackle the 5.3-mile loop that incorporates the Sourdough, South St. Vrain and Walkdrop Trails. If you’re looking to rent snowshoes, head to one of the ski shops in Boulder like Crystal Ski Shop or Christy Sports, which are both just a 45-minute drive from the trailhead.

 

Crags Trail

Distance From Denver: 103 Miles

6 Miles

Denver Snowshoeing

Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak Alpine School

Located near Colorado Springs, Crags Trail is a short and mostly flat out-and-back trail with a bit of an uphill slope at the beginning and at the actual rocky crags at the end of the trail—but we promise the sweeping views are well worth any trouble. At the end of Crags Trail, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking view of the Rampart Range, the North and South Catamount Reservoirs and the Crystal Creek Reservoir.

 

Boreas Pass

Distance From Denver: 87 Miles

6.2 Miles

Nestled right next to Breckenridge, the Boreas Pass is a popular destination for hikers and drivers on the hunt for a scenic view during the summer and fall. But it turns into an incredible wonderland during the winter that you can explore by snowshoe! Park at the Baker’s Tank Trailhead Parking Lot on Boreas Pass Road near downtown and hit the trail that continues all the way to the Continental Divide. At the top, you’ll find the historic Section House and Ken’s Cabin—which are definitely worth a visit—along with elevated views of Breckenridge and the entire Mosquito and the Ten Mile Range.

 

Expert

Mayflower Gulch

Distance From Denver: 83 Miles

5.9 Miles

If you like amazing views and historic scenes—this difficult trail near Copper Mountain is just for you. This trail lined with tall evergreens is great for snowshoeing, offering a difficult but clear path all the way to the end. About 3.6 miles in, you’ll find yourself in the remains of a ghost town just waiting to be explored, and at 5.9 miles in, you’ll be at the base of a jaw-dropping mountain scene like none other.

 

Loch Vale

Distance From Denver: 79 Miles

6.2 Miles

Denver Snowshoeing

Photo courtesy of Jessica Wolf via Outdoor Project

Tucked in Rocky Mountain National Park, Loch Vale offers a winter challenge to avid snowshoers. Soaring high at 10,000 feet above sea level, the elements are your biggest challenge, but the views of the frozen lakes and snow-capped mountains make any struggle worth it.

 

Quandary Peak

Distance From Denver: 90 Miles

6.75 Miles

Yes, you can snowshoe a 14er around Denver! Quandary Peak is a 6.3-mile out-and-back trek up the 14,265-foot high path, which gains about 3,340 feet in a little over 3 miles. On clearer days, you can enjoy fantastic views of the other 14ers and 13ers in the Ten Mile Range as well as the mountains in the Sawatch and Collegiate Peaks Ranges. And, if you have experience glissading, you can reduce your trip time by going down Cristo Couloir with a mountaineering ax and returning to the parking lot via the closed road.

 

Berthoud Pass

Distance From Denver: 55 Miles

7.3 Miles

This abandoned ski slope might not be a huge destination for mainstream skiers anymore, but for snowshoers, it offers a fantastic challenge and great rewards. Starting at the parking lot on the top of Berthoud Pass, cross 40 and follow the Continental Divide Trail west. This trail climbs up the side of the ridge and reaches a series of switchbacks about a little over a mile into the hike. If you continue on, you’ll reach the top of Stanley Mountain at a staggering 12,512 feet.

 

Buffalo Mountain

Distance From Denver: 87 Miles

13 Miles

Denver Snowshoeing

Photo courtesy of Muhammad Shaukat via TrekEarth

Perhaps the most challenging on this list, the Buffalo Mountain loop covers 13 miles of terrain and more than 3,200 feet in elevation gain. But the views of the remote peaks in Colorado’s Gore Range and the traverse over the beautiful Eccles Pass make it worthwhile. If you want to experience some of the beauty without hiking 13 miles, the option to Lily Pad Lake is much more mellow and offers lovely views of the frozen lake in the winter.

 

What did we miss?

Did we miss your favorite snowshoeing trail near Denver? Let us know in the comments!

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